By Ishaq Usman
Political parties in Nigeria have this history of being regional. While some might have strongholds in more than one region, it’s almost theoretically impossible or even if it is,historically absent,for a political party to have strongholds in all regions. These political parties, however evil they may have committed,committed a lot of energy in galvanising local support and cultural acceptance from regions of its strength such that those people develop a sort of sentimental attachment to these parties. I happen to have a much older friend who proudly brandishes his membership of PDP to anyone that cares to listen and most times to those who don’t even care. Probing further,he told me that PDP paid for his hajj. The capital he used to start a booming retail business was provided by the PDP. The Peugeot 306 he drives was provided by the PDP. The question is, how then will this kind of person not be sentimentally attached to the PDP? The legality or what not of such monies used isn’t the case here. The case is how hard political parties work to build themselves a bunker,a sanctuary,a structure of sort.
Technological advancements has in the long run affected politics with a varying degree, fluctuating between the extreme ends of positivity and negativity. Twitter for instance has been used to galvanize social and civil participation and at the same time used to lie,mislead and most times,used as a measure for how far where and how long when is the symbol of self deceit. Every day, on Nigerian Political Twitter, we see psuedo-impulsive analysts who mistake the numbers trooping out to welcome PMB for joblessness. They analyse on Twitter what they haven’t seen practiced in Nigeria but in other places, not minding the political realities and uniqueness of our dearly beloved country. One of these was an agenda made by the Former Minister of Education, a woman I look up to and respect, when she vowed to actively campaign against PDP and APC without giving alternatives. Actually, she added a caveat. She’ll only seize to campaign against these parties if they provide credible alternatives. I’m scratching my head in wonder. If you campaign against a thing, why wait for that thing to bring up something? I mean,you weren’t campaigning against a particular aspect of that thing. You were against everything which invariably means the dearth of that particular thing. Why wait on it to resuscitate when you’ve actually campaigned for it’s asphyxiation?
This line of thought is the reason why we have bad leadership. A situation where a disruption of the process is chosen as an alternative. A situation where paper is believed to be analytically correct, neglecting the localization of Nigerian politics in every aspect. A situation where people feel themselves too clean to be associated with a particular party famous for evil but with a structure and a chance at future correction and will rather form their own parties a year or two before the elections and still expect to win. These parties, new ones so formed have nothing to match the evil ones with in terms of structure, power, prestige and money. They expect good intentions and the once in a week advertisement where they reel out the failures of past administration to win them elections. They get angry when their offer for debate is rejected by a typical Nigerian political party,who’ll rather spend that day at a thick village, selling themselves to the people rather than coming on TV that’ll or mightn’t even boost their political profile. Again,it’ll be irresponsible to compare Nigerian politics with that of other places. We have money as a very important factor here,ethnicity, religion,blackmail,incumbency and popularity too. If you’re not comfortable with the present,bring a viable alternative. Not the one that Musa from Kwakwaran Manu in Kaduna haven’t heard of. These alternatives should be penetrative, structural and financially stable before talking about correctness. Correctness is something that can always be achieved if the conditions are right. In the absence of a credible alternative, its better to join this devils,build and dine with them,erect a structure within and consequently start to slowly reduce the devilry.”Participating in the process”. Same goes for the #NotTooYoungToRun.
Youths shouldn’t deceive themselves into believing that opportunities will be handed to them on a platter. Designing logos and participating in political discourses online will only make you famous. It won’t make you win. You need go to your ward, register,seek for the chairman of the party,earn his trust by working and being loyal to the party, make your self known to influential party members, sell yourself to the process and the people before thinking of contesting elections. As painful as it looks, it almost certainly is the best way to political success realistically. Theoretics might have a different view though and as usaul,theories don’t win elections. No 2 political parties have the structure of APC and PDP. None. Rather than campaign against them,I suggest we join forces. Moreover this campaign might or will even end up being a waste of time. Participation is the way..not alienation.
Ishaq Usman is a writer and poet based in Kano. He can be reached @Najalpharouque on Twitter.